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MAVCOM Counters Allegations

12 Sep, 2019


To quote: Dr Nungsari Radhi, Executive Chairman, Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM)

I read the comments made by the Group CEO of AirAsia Group in LinkedIn on MAVCOM with some interest. As a regulator, I have a duty to speak responsibly and be fact-based. It is in that context I wish to highlight the following.  

Since the Commission was established in March 2016, we have undertaken many initiatives that benefit the consumers and industry players. These are too numerous for me to recount here, but I cite several examples here for the public’s benefit. Our Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC) had ensured consumers only pay for those services which they opt for. We have also eliminated hidden charges such as the klia2 fee. Meanwhile, payment processing fees cannot be charged separately from the base fare. We believe these measures, resulting in greater transparency, would allow consumers to enjoy monetary savings and make more informed decisions. We also believe aviation consumer complaints are now being taken more seriously, and refunds will be reimbursed to passengers within 30 days from the date of request. 

Our work with the industry is also substantial. For instance, from January 2018 to August 2019, the Commission has issued over 93 per cent of Air Traffic Rights (ATR) applied by the airlines, in accordance with a transparent process introduced by the Commission following consultation with the airlines, including AirAsia. AirAsia is in fact a major beneficiary with more than 50 per cent of all ATRs awarded during this period being allocated to them. We further note that 24 per cent of these ATRs that were granted to AirAsia had subsequently been returned to us as they were unutilised. 

We have also introduced a robust licensing application process that ensures only serious, capable and prepared applicants are considered. We have even protected the interests of consumers affected by the failure of an airline whose license was awarded prior to MAVCOM’s establishment. We have introduced an Airports Quality of Service (QoS) to elevate service standards at airports and have been working with the industry and capital markets in implementing the internationally recognised Regulated Asset Base Framework (a methodology for calculating airport charges) in Malaysia amongst others.

We have also introduced FlySmart, which is a consumer-centric initiative by the Commission as part of its efforts to champion consumer rights in the aviation sector. The focus is to drive awareness, educate, and empower travellers of their rights. Today, the public in Malaysia will be able to access information on their rights as traveller through various mediums, including via the FlySmart website and mobile app. 

More information on the Commission and our work is available on the MAVCOM website and the statements and publications we have issued to date. The answers to some of the matters raised in the LinkedIn article are available therein for those who care to look. 

The MAVCOM team, who are former employees of airlines (including AirAsia), airports, other regulatory bodies, private sector and civil service, are ably qualified professionals comprising amongst others aviation professionals, financial analysts, economists and lawyers. Despite external pressures, we believe they have delivered much good to the consumers and industry. 

The Commission and its employees are duty bound to act within the confines of the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 [Act 771], and we intend to ensure industry players similarly respect the laws and regulations of the country – our recent financial penalties are pursuant to this goal. We are aware that we can be subjected to judicial review. As an example, AirAsia had sought leave to commence judicial review proceedings against the Commission. In that particular case, the Kuala Lumpur High Court had on 25 June 2019 rejected the said leave application.

There are many stakeholders in the aviation industry in Malaysia, not merely one, and the Commission’s role is to ensure its work benefits the industry overall and not any one specific player. We have consciously worked towards that objective and will continue to do so.